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Richardet v. Murdale True Value

February 27, 2009

KENNETH J. RICHARDET, LESLIE RICHARDET, EUGENE B. STURM, AND VIRGINIA C. STURM, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MURDALE TRUE VALUE, INC., AND KEVIN D. HARRISON, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge

ORDER on MOTIONS IN LIMINE & FINAL PRETRIAL MATTERS

As stated on the record at the February 27, 2009 final pretrial conference, the Court rules as follows on Plaintiffs' ("¶") and Defendants' ("Δ") motions in limine.

Δ #1 seeking to exclude evidence of insurance coverage or financial status of any party (Doc. 39): GRANTED as to Defendants' insurance coverage and RULING RESERVED as to the parties' financial status. Prior to soliciting testimony about Defendants' financial status, Plaintiffs' counsel should request a sidebar.

Δ #2 seeking to prohibit emphasis on Murdale True Value's corporate status (Doc. 40): GRANTED in part & DENIED in part. Defendant Murdale's corporate status is relevant but ought not be emphasized.

Δ #3 seeking to exclude evidence/argument relating to Kevin Harrison's excessive speed (Doc. 41): DENIED.

Δ #4 seeking to exclude evidence of "subsequent remedial measures" (Doc. 42): DENIED at this time.

The admissibility of this evidence substantially depends on the facts developed at trial and the laying of an appropriate foundation, rendering a final ruling a this juncture premature. The Court further notes that Defendants' motion refers to two components of "subsequent remedial measures:"

(1) Murdale's adoption of new inspection policies and

(2) Harrison's assumption of new job duties.

The motion does not clarify (and the Court cannot ascertain) how Harrison's changed job duties constitute a "subsequent remedial measure."

As to new inspection policies adopted by Murdale post-accident, the Court's ruling will depend on how the evidence is adduced at trial. For example, if feasibility is denied by Defendants, then certain subsequent remedial measures may be admissible.

Δ #5 seeking exclude evidence of settlement negotiations (Doc. 44): GRANTED (without objection by Plaintiff).

Δ #6 seeking to exclude evidence/argument regarding spoliation of evidence (Doc. 45): DENIED as over broad.

Δ #7 seeking to exclude non-party trial witnesses from the courtroom (Doc. 47): GRANTED as described at final pretrial ...


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